CELTIC matchwinner Dedryck Boyata is confident the Hoops can reach the Champions League group stages – and also keep Virgil van Dijk at Parkhead.
The defender netted the only goal of the game with just eight minutes to go against Qarabag in the first leg of a tense occasion in Glasgow last night.
It was the new recruit from Manchester City’s second goal in the qualifiers and he now expects Ronny Deila’s side to make it into Europe’s elite.
He said: “I think we have shown that we are a good team and we can play there. That is the dream for all of us.

“I think we will score in Azerbaijan. We have the players who are good enough at this level. It was frustrating last night because we were trying to create chances and the goal was not coming so it was great to get it.

“But the spirit in this group of players is so good. We did not ever give up hope that we would not score.

“We believe that we can win the second leg. If we score just one goal then we know that it will be very hard for Qarabag to come back and we can do that. It is important that we believe and we have the confidence to do that.”

Boyata’s early partnership with Van Dijk has been impressive and he is keen to reach the Champions League in the hope that it encourages the Dutch defender to remain at the club.

The Belgian said: “It has been so easy for me to come here and feel part of it because I was made to feel a part of the team from my very first day.

“Virgil and I have played well together and we have a good understanding already. He is a very good player.

“He is strong and quick, has pace and is a very good defender. Of course, I would love him to stay here, but that depends on how he thinks and what happens.

“Every player wants to play Champions League football, so that might be something for him to think about. All I know is that he is a part of the reason why it has been easy for me to play for Celtic.

“He has helped to make it easy, but players such as Charlie Mulgrew and Efe Ambrose have been very good to me, too.

“This is a strong squad and the players here are good enough to play Champions League football.”
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